As Allison Sherry of The Denver Post reported yesterday, Congressman Scott Tipton's Chief of Staff Mike Hesse has been pushed out. Tipton's Legislative Director, Nicholas Zupancic, is taking over the office, at least in the short term. Meanwhile, back in Colorado, the campaign manager for State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Michael Fortney, is taking charge of Tipton's re-election campaign.
This shakeup couldn't come soon enough according to our sources. It was believed that Hesse, who was the Chief of Staff for Scott McInnis when he was in Congress, just wasn't a good fit for the office. With less than stellar fundraising and some other missteps, it is heartening to see Tipton recognizing the problem and correcting course.
Hesse also didn't line up with the conservative faithful who make up large parts of Tipton's 3rd CD. As one source put it: "out with the squish, in with a conservative!"
In hiring Fortney, who successfully managed Stapleton's defeat of Cary Kennedy last year, Tipton is also signaling he's preparing for the coming battle against state Rep. Sal Pace (D-Urination).
Pace has stepped down from his post as House Minority Leader to spend the bulk of his time campaigning, which will force Tipton to step up his game a bit.
The nature of the 3rd CD still leans in Tipton's favor, especially running against a candidate like Pace who has an extensive criminal record and took a taxpayer funded bonus for working on the Congressional campaign of John Salazar.
Even though redistricting made the 3rd CD slightly more favorable to Democrats, it is still a strongly conservative district. In 2008, when Obama won by 8 points, he still lost the 3rd CD. In 2012, Obama's down ticket drag will be a steep hill for Pace to climb.
That hill just got a bit steeper with Tipton shaking up his operation and preparing for battle in 2012. Game on.